Fifteen sweet months. Marlene and I adopted Mick, a senior Husky, from a local shelter on 11/27/2019 and we said good-bye on 2/15/2021. Although our time was short, the memories we created are lasting.
I cannot take a morning walk without thinking about Mick. It was his favorite part of the day. He would do his happy-hop, sometimes bark his impatience, and lead me from my nice warm bed to the cold front door. Hang on Mick, I’d say, I gotta layer up. I’m not a Husky you know! But outside where I put on my shoes, he’d sit at attention looking out at the dawn’s gray light, patiently savoring the moment.
I pass spots and think how Mick loved to sniff there, or here’s where we inspected the tree the beavers took down, or here’s where he said hello to another dog. And here’s where we saw the kid who said is that a Husky? I have one (a stuffed toy) he boasted. He giggled as his Dad and I let him give Mick a treat. Mick liked variety in his walks and sometimes he would plant his feet with the side-eyes and say, c’mon Dad, let’s go this way today. And there were the times he would stop and sniff the breeze. What did he smell that we humans could not? Or was he pausing to enjoy the moment?
Besides the walks there was his mischievous side. One time he took the toilet paper roll holder from the bathroom and carried it down the hall, clanging it loudly against the walls as he went. We went from alarm to laughter. Afterwards, he sat looking at us with a goofy expression wondering, I’m sure, why we were making a brouhaha!
Like many dogs, he loved car rides. The ones to VC&SS were memorable. For half an hour each way he would snuggle against my shoulder, or request neck rubs from Mom, or look out the side windows or, oddly, the rear window. When we weren’t on the freeway he liked to put his snout out an open window.
There were quieter times too. He would lay under the table while my son and his girlfriend visited for a meal… outdoors of course courtesy of COVID. He was content. Mick liked being around company. And oh, was Miriam Spenser’s girlfriend or was she Mick’s girlfriend?
There were times he would sit right in front of me and gaze directly in my eyes. Time to exchange some loving. He would melt slowly from a sitting position, to a down position, to lying on his side as the massages went from face-and-neck to chest-and-belly.
I replay those memories in my mind’s eye and I am grateful for the time we had. When we adopted Mick he had a ruptured ligament (we thought it was hip dysplasia) that required surgery. We found he had arthritis in his spine and rear leg. Upon recovery from surgery we found he had lymphoma. No sooner had he done his last chemo treatment than his body gave out. It was one thing or another the entire time. So I have another memory, an imagined one: Mick is running freely, without pain, over miles of a snow-covered landscape with the cold wind in his smiling face. Mick is being a Husky.